William Cowper

William Cowper

Birth
Death 25 Apr 1800 (aged 68)
Burial East Dereham, Breckland Borough, Norfolk, England
Memorial ID 17132604 · View Source
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Poet, born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, the son of the Reverend John Cowper and Ann, daughter of Roger Donne of Ludham Hall, Norfolk. On leaving school, he was articled to a solicitor and at the age of 23 was called to the Bar. However, his fits of depression developed into insanity at the time and he tried to commit suicide. His gradual recovery coincided with the beginning of his conversion to Christian evangelicism. He found lodging in Huntingdon, with the Reverend Morley Unwin, his wife Mary and his family. After the Reverend Unwin was killed in a riding accident in 1767, he continued to board with Mary and her family. In 1768, he and the Unwin ladies moved to Olney in Buckinghamshire to be under the ministry of the Reverend John Newton, who was the evangelical curate there. Despite periods of severe melancholia, Cowper's eighteen years in Olney and eight at Weston Underwood were marked by his great literary achievements as poet, hymn-writer, letter-writer and translator. His works include the famous ‘Olney Hymns', published in 1779, on which Cowper and Newton collaborated; ‘John Gilpin' written in 1782 was at first published anonymously, but became so popular that after Cowper admitted authorship, he became a household name; ‘The Task' published in 1785 was very well received by all levels of society, including the Royal Family. It influenced the later Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth. In 1785 he undertook the translation of Homer, published in 1791. He aspired to improve on Alexander Pope's version.


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 23 Dec 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17132604
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Cowper (26 Nov 1731–25 Apr 1800), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17132604, citing St Nicholas Churchyard, East Dereham, Breckland Borough, Norfolk, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .